This week’s haul with big flies on the White River and Norfork River was nothing short of spectacular. If you haven’t tuned in to the blog this week, it would be worth your time to check back at the previous couple of posts just for the big brown eye candy. In addition to Cain Royalty’s epic two days with Steve Dally, and Chris Willen’s hard earned and well deserved fish, the fly shop owner Jim Dugan landed a big sleek hen fishing with Gabe Levin, and Chad Johnson and Alex Lafkas both racked in several big fish as well. Chad and Alex are usually too busy and too humble to share many pictures or stories, but rest assured these boys are out there fiercely hunting big fish. Then there’s our friend Barry Analora, who fishes religiously for trophy browns day and night, at least 5 days a week – he probably has more two-footers to his name than anyone I know. I think he caught another one or maybe two this week, and I’ll credit him as a persistent and skilled angler, but none of his friends really get excited anymore about his big catches. Yep, Barry got another one. Big deal. Enjoy the pics and read on for fly suggestions and water flow reports.
Most mornings this week provided three hours of good strong flows around the 10,000cfs mark, a really nice water level for pitching big flies at the banks. Big fish were caught on a variety of streamer sizes and styles – everything from 3inch white Zonkers to 8inch Double Deceivers. In addition to these two baitfish imitations, heavier, deeper searching patterns like Circus Peanuts, BoogieMen, and Dungeons were all effective as well. Perhaps the variety of patterns that took big fish this week is an indication that the browns are simply feeding heavily at the moment. Lower flows will yield a lot of rainbows, and possibly a cutthroat or decent brown on egg patterns, Sunday Specials, Wotton Super Midges, Rubies and Root Beers, and of course ye’ olde olive wooly.
Gear Note: The weather conditions in the Ozarks are extremely variable over the next couple months. Temperatures can and do go from finger stinging cold to brow sweating warm in the same day. It is imperative that the serious angler come prepared with warm socks, layering options and wind/waterproof shell. If you need to upgrade your jacket or need help with a layering system, come check out our extensive lineup of cold weather gear from Simms, Redington, and Orvis. Our staff will happily assist you.
Expect a full two generators equalling about 6,000cfs for two to four hours in the mornings, with low water for the majority of the remainder of daylight hours. The streamer bite on high water has been a little inconsistent but still yielding some strong hard fighting fish on big flies. Try white or yellow Fatheads, Zoo Cougars, and Lynch’s DDs. The low water still fishes well, but at a much slower pace, with light tippet, small indicators, and little midges or scuds.